Join the 9% Who KO New Year's Resolutions

Every year, about 41% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions, though only 9.2% of people are successful in keeping them. Most resolutions fall into one of four categories, and there are many simple behavioral tips and other tools that can help you crush your 2018 goals.

If there is one simple hack that can improve your chances of success, it's explicitly write down your goal and commit to it publically. Psychology professor Robert Caldini famously defined the 6 Key Principles of Influence, and #2 is Consistency and Commitment. "Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand." In the case of New Year's Resolutions, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10x more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions.

Write down your goals and share them with friends and family that will hold you accountable. Here are some common goals and tips to achieve them this year.

  1. Self-Improvement or Education Related. I love learning new things and it's easier than ever to access new information. Coursera is an incredible online classroom that gives you access to nearly any subject taught by a top professor in the field. The classes can run about $25-$50 per month. I'd suggest enrolling in a course of interest and paying the fee, and then create a personal weekly schedule to complete the course. Don't forget to tell others that you are learning the topic of interest.
  2. Weight Related. A very common goal that easily starts to fade by the time February hits. Whether you want to lose weight, pack on muscle, or run a marathon, there are three tools that can help increase your chances of success. 

    Fitness Tracker: if you don't have an Apple Watch yet, no worries, there are some awesome (and inexpensive) wearables on the market.

    Calorie Tracker: check out Myfitnesspal. It's surprising easily to track your calories. Rule of Thumb - calories in must be less than calories burned to lose weight. Compare your calorie tracker each day to your fitness trackers calories burned.

    Workout Routines: Beachbody has a ton of great workout programs (like P90x and Insanity) that you can stream anywhere from their app. Buy a 6-month subscription for about $60 and you'll be ready to show off at the beach come July.

    Set an achievable goal, such as losing 15 pounds in 6 months. Avoid unrealistic or unhealthy goals as you can quickly lose motivation.
  3. Money Related. 80% of Americans have debt, so I'd suggest creating a plan to pay down your debt. Dave Ramsey argues that paying off small balances first is the best approach, even if they have a lower interest rate than higher debt balances. This is certainly contrary to financial logic, though getting small wins can give you more motivation to tackle the bigger balances. 
  4. Relationship Related. Maybe swap out Tinder for Match.com. There's countless books and articles about how to improve relationships, though the golden rule has stood the test of time - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Write down the relationship(s) that you would like to improve and the specific actions that you will take to improve them.

Pick a goal, write it down, create a game plan to achieve goal, tell your friends and family your goal, and execute. Make your 2018 the best year yet!

At your service,
Young Alfred